What is Heart Burn? Edit


Despite its name, heartburn is not involved with the heart. Although some of the symptoms are similar to other diseases such as a heart attack or even heart disease.

Heartburn is an irritation of the esophagus (the part that connects the throat to the stomach) that is caused by stomach acid.The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) only opens to pass food into the stomach or burp, and when a person overeats, or when the LES doesn’t tighten enough after opening too often, the stomach acid backs up into the tube that carries food from your mouth, down your esophagus and to your stomach (which is the digestive tract). This burning sensation from the stomach acid is called a ‘heartburn’. If a person has heart burns often, it may lead to become a serious problem, or even chronic diseases such as esophageal cancer. 

It is very common in pregnant women.

Overeating or certain food may cause the LES to relax

  • Citrus fruits
  • Garlic/onions
    Understanding heartburn
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Peppermint
  • Food high in fats and oils 

Heartburn is a burning pain in your chest, just behind your breastbone. The pain is often worse when lying down or bending over. heartburn is common and no cause for alarm. Most people can manage the discomfort of heartburn on their own with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. Heartburn that is more frequent may be a symptom of a more serious condition that requires medical care.[2]

How does Heart Burn Affect the Digestive System? Edit


Normally when you swallow, a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (it is around the bottom of your esophagus) relaxes to allow food and liquid to flow down into your stomach or permit belching, then closes again (tightens). However if the LES opens too often or does not close tight enough, stomach acid is triggered to go up into the digestive tract (includes esophagus, throat, mouth, and even the airways in the lungs) and causes the burning sensation which is a heartburn. When stomach acids repeatedly back up into the esophagus, it can injure its sensitive lining and digesting may become much harder or you may experience difficulty in swallowing.That injury can also lead to painful inflammation called esophagi. Eventually, the acid wears away at the esophagus, causing bleeding. If the bleeding is heavy enough, blood can pass into the digestive tract and show up as dark, tarry stools. When harsh acids make their way into the mouth, they can extremely effect with tooth enamel. A number of studies have noted that people with GERD have more dental erosion than normal. The condition can also lead to bad breath and an increase in saliva production. 

Understanding heartburn

Signs and Symptoms Edit


The usual symptoms of heart burn is a burning sensation in the chest, just like the name of the condition indicates, and it can be accompanied by: a sour taste at the back of the throat, or, a feeling of food being stuck in the throat. Other common symptoms include dizziness or cold sweat.

You should seek immediate help if you experience severe chest pain or pressure.

You should make an appointment with a doctor if:

·       Heartburn occurs more than twice a week

·       You have difficulty swallowing

·       You have common nausea or vomiting

·       You have weight loss because of poor appetite or difficulty eating

A person needs to be evaluated by a health-care professional as soon as possible if he or she has heartburn symptoms that are accompanied with: shortness of breath, radiation to the arms or neck, dizziness or cold sweat.

Heartburn is made up by acid reflux when stomach acid splashes from the stomach up into the esophagus. Heartburn triggers differ from person to person, but most people have similar heartburn symptoms
The symptoms: 

•A burning feeling in the chest just behind the breastbone that occurs after eating and lasts a few minutes to several hours. •Chest pain, especially after bending over, lying down, or eating. •Burning in the throat Difficult swallowing •Feeling of food "sticking" in the middle of the chest or throat


Diagnosis Edit


Heartburn can be diagnosed through the symptoms.The symptoms include a burning pain in the chest that usually takes place after eating and may occur at night. Also a pain that worsens when lying down or bending over. Your doctor can make a proper diagnosis for gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) just by the way you describe your symptoms, or for a more accurate diagnosis (if needed) will send you to under go tests. These test will show the causes of your symptoms, to monitor the degree of damage, or to determine the best treatment for you.

Symptoms of heartburn include:

·        A burning pain in the chest that usually occurs after eating and may occur at night

·        Pain that worsens when lying down or bending over

The tests to find out whether or not you are suffering from heartburn, the doctor measures the amount of acid in the esophagus over a 24-48 hour period. This test is used mainly to rule out GERD (Gastrointestinal reflux disease) if symptoms are not typical for acid reflux.

To determine if you have heartburn, or too see if you have GERD (gastrointestinal reflex disease(constant heartburn because your LES is too weak to close properly at all times), your doctor may recommend:

-X-ray, to view the shape and condition of your esophagus and stomach.

-Endoscopy, to check for abnormalities in your esophagus. A tissue sample (biopsy) may be taken for analysis. A long thin tube is inserted through the mouth to observe inflammation in the esophagus.

-Ambulatory acid probe tests, to identify when, and for how long, stomach acid backs up into your esophagus. An acid monitor that is placed in your esophagus connects to a small computer that you wear around your waist or on a strap over your shoulder.

-Esophageal motility testing, to measure movement and pressure in your esophagus.

-Barium Swallow Radiograph (Patient is required to swallow a solution of barium. The barium enables doctors to take X-rays of your esophagus)

-Endoscopy or EDG (the doctor inserts a small tube with a camera on the end through the mouth into the esophagus. This enables the doctor to see the lining of the esophagus and stomach)

-Biopsy (gastrointestinal will pass a tiny surgical instrument through the scope to remove a small piece of the lining in the esophagus. The tissue sample will then be sent to a pathology lab for analysis. There it will be assessed to see if there is an underlying disease such as esophageal cancer)

-Esophageal Impedance Monitoring (This test uses a manometry tube with electrodes placed at various points along its length. It measures the rate at which liquids and gases pass through your esophagus. When these results are compared with your manometry findings, your doctor will be able to assess how effectively your esophageal contractions are moving substances through your esophagus into your stomach.)

-pH Monitoring (This test uses a pH monitor to record the acidity in your esophagus over a 24-hour period. A small tube with a pH sensor on the end is passed through your nose into your lower esophagus. The tube is left in place for 24 hours with the portion exiting your nose affixed to the side of your face. It will be connected to a small recording device that you can wear or carry.)

Treatment Edit


Both prescription and over-the-counter choices are available. Rarely, surgery is recommended to prevent reflux and heartburn. The primary objective of treatment is to identify the cause of the heartburn so it can be avoided in the future. Over-the-counter antacids are commonly used to neutralize stomach acid.

To treat Heartburn there are many over-the-counter medications (buy without prescription) that can help relieve heartburn.

The options are:

·       Antacids (for occasional heart burn), which help neutralize the stomach acids that is irritating the esophagus or the other parts of the digestive tract that it is damaging. This drug may provide quick relief, but cannot heal the damage done to your esophagus damaged by the stomach acid. Also it is not very recommended since the content of the stomach is supposed to be acidic.

·       H-2-receptor antagonists (H2RAs) (for persistent heart burn), which can reduce the production of stomach acid. However this drug does not work as quickly as antacids, but may provide longer relief.

·       Proton pump inhibitors( for persistent heart burn): these are drugs such as lansoprazole, prevacid 24hr, and omeprazole, which also reduce stomach acid by blocking the enzymes which create the acids in the stomach.

There are also home remedies that can be tried, if there are no prescribed treatment available. Some include:

  • Chewing gum – creates more saliva, and the saliva clears the acid accumulated along the digestive track
  • Aloe – reduces inflammation caused by stomach acid
  • Slippery elm extract – thickens the protective tissue in the lining of the stomach

If over-counter-medications do not work your doctor may prescribe a prescription drug. When all else fails surgery may be required to repair the LES.

Video Edit

Works Cited:

"WebMD Heartburn Health Center - Find GERD, Acid Reflux and Heartburn Information." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2016.

"WebMD Heartburn Health Center - Find GERD, Acid Reflux and Heartburn Information." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2016.

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